A ‘once in a lifetime trip to Ireland’ is impossible – You can’t visit just once. The landscape, the people and atmosphere make it difficult for anyone who has experienced it to stay away for too long. Every time you make the trip you’ll find a new hidden gem; a little rocky cove, a scenic walk, a lively pub all there, as if waiting for you to discover them. As a regular visitor I have found one recipe for a perfect weekend in my favourite county of them all – Cork.
Flying into Cork airport is always a pleasure.
It’s immaculate, never too busy and the rental car pickup is on the airport’s doorstep.From there I drive into the city centre, park up and stroll along Oliver Plunkett Street (winner of the ‘Best Street Award 2016’).The English Market is an absolute must. I stop there to pick up some of the outstanding local produce, Clonakilty Black Pudding and Ballymaloe Relish for a start. The coastal town of Kinsale is next on the agenda. There’s a multitude of amazing restaurants to choose from but I recommend Fishy Fish for a seafood lunch.
Afterwards I make my way to Inchydoney Island (you can drive to it) for a stroll on the beach. Next, on to the village of Baltimore to catch the evening sunset. A drink outside Bushes bar at the main square overlooking the harbour and sheltered by a medieval castle is the perfect way to end the day.
Next morning, breakfast at the Glebe Café at the top of the village sets me up for the day. A visit to the pirate exhibition in the medieval castle then I catch a ferry to one of the many nearby islands. A swim if the Atlantic if I’m feeling brave then back to the Waterfront pub in Baltimore for some mussels and chips washed down with a pint of Guinness. If I can manage to pull myself away from the live music at the village square then I’ll head for a night time kayak in the nearby marine lake, Lough Ine.
Time has run out and it’s time to get back to the airport. A weekend is never enough to experience everything Ireland has to offer – that’s why nobody visits just once.
By Erica McCarthy – Travel Blogger & Marine Archaeologist